Best 5 Gallon Fish Tanks – Review & Guide

For a lot of beginner fish tank owners, a 5-gallon small tank is optimal for so many great reasons. It doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and cleaning because of the small size. Because of its small size, not a lot of room is taken up because of it. Also, it will be able to fit on any surface without worrying about size or stability.

However, not all 5-gallon fish tanks are the same. There are many options out there to choose from, some better than others, so I have compiled a list of the top ten 5-gallon tanks on the market today.

5 Gallon Fish Tanks Reviews

MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass

This 5-gallon tank is great because it comes with a built-in filtration system already equipped in the back of the tank. The filter is completely hidden behind a back panel, so the tank will not look cluttered or in disarray. This is great because it is less money on you since you won’t be needing to buy a filtration system separately.

It comes with two colors of LED lights: blue and white. The blue LED light produces a relaxing moonlight hue on the tank, while the white LED light creates a shimmering appearance on the water. This is going to make your tank look beautiful to the eye.

For easy access to the tank, there is a sliding panel attached to the top. This is perfect for easy feeding and cleaning of the tank, which will ultimately result in less maintenance on your end.


  • Blue and white LED lights make the water look pleasing
  • The sliding panel allows for easy access
  • Built-in filtration system


  • The LED lights don’t have a dimming feature
  • The cover on the top creates cracks on the sides, so you must be careful so no critters can escape

Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kits

This tank is specifically designed to tailor to a small fish owner’s needs. Its compact, yet polished design will look great in any room, and it can even be an accent piece for any room. It has a black base and black top which adds to the overall look of the tank.

The instructions that come with the tank are pretty easy to follow, so it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to install. It comes with LED lights which will make the water look shimmering. It also comes with food samples for your fish, so you can experiment with how your fish likes other brands of food.

It comes with its own filtration system which is great because you won’t be needing to buy that separately. The filter comes with small filter cartridges that tailor to the small size of the tank. The filter is made to be pretty much noiseless.


  • LED lights illuminate the water
  • Comes with free samples of fish food
  • Sleek and polished design


  • The filter isn’t reliable
  • Some visual distortion in the glass

GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank

This tank’s best feature is its LED lighting. The lighting enhances the color of the water and makes your fish visually more appealing. The glowing effect the lights create makes this tank a great option if you have any kids.

The tank is made of acrylic instead of glass, so it is going to be a lot safer, stronger, clearer, and lighter in weight than a glass tank. This means that you will get less of a cloudy effect in the material, and you also won’t have to clean the outside as often. The outside of the tank is curved in a crescent-shape, so there is more surface area so see your fish through.

It comes with a canopy sliding hood so you’ll be able to feed your fish easier. This also allows for easier cleaning and maintenance of the tank.


  • Made of acrylic material
  • Canopy sliding hood allows for easy feeding
  • LED lighting


  • Comes with cartridges but no filter, so you’ll have to buy the filter separately
  • Some issues with understanding the instructions

Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit

This tank is made from etched glass and the trim is made from aluminum, unlike a lot of other tanks where the trim is made from plastic. Aluminum is a better, more durable material that will hold up for a long time and it has a sleek look to it.

It comes with a built-in filtration system that covers biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration. The filtration system is hidden in the back of the tank, and it is covered by a honeycomb design so it doesn’t negatively impact the look to the tank.

It comes with an LED lighting system that will illuminate the waters and make your fish look amazing. The LED system is better than a lot of others as it generates 20% bright lighting performance than other systems. Other products included in this package are a foam block, activated carbon, and BioMax bio rings


  • Powerful LED lighting system
  • Built-in filtration system
  • Aluminum trim


  • Possible glass distortion
  • Lighting system does not come with a dimming feature

MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit

The most attractive feature of this tank is the aesthetics. It has a very stylish look that will look amazing in any room. It could possibly make for a focal point in a room because of its rail light. The rail light displays the lights in a more visually appealing appearance compared to a lot of other lighting systems. The lighting system comes with both daylight and moonlight settings.

It comes with a hidden filtration system in the back that covers biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration. It also has an adjustable flow rate and a pump which will make the water extra clean and clear. This is going to allow for a better view of your fish.

The glass canopy on the top of the tank makes for easy feeding and maintenance of the fish and the tank. Also, the canopy prevents any aquatic light from creeping out of the tank.


  • Built-in filtration system
  • Lighting comes with daylight and moonlight settings
  • Stylish appearance


  • Rail light can get in the way from easy feeding
  • Filter doesn’t come with a low enough flow rate for very delicate fish

Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit

This tank is made from acrylic instead of glass, so it will automatically be safer, stronger, and clearer than a glass tank would be. This means there will be no cloudy effect and you won’t have to clean the outside surface as often. Also, you won’t need to worry about the surface underneath of it because the acrylic is about half the weight a glass tank would be.

The lighting in this tank comes with LED lights that are energy-efficient, so you won’t be harming the environment too much if you leave them on all the time. The lights are also hidden so they won’t get in the way of the appearance of the tank.

It uses carbon to remove any odors or discoloration of the tank. Also, it has a mechanical filter that helps to clean and clear the water from any harmful bacteria. It comes with mesh that will catch any bacteria or particles that the filter collected.


  • Energy-efficient LED lighting
  • Made from acrylic material
  • Uses carbon to remove odors


  • Any of the higher settings on the filter is way too much for small fish
  • Extra-large feeding hole may cause critters to escape

Lifegard Aquatics R800206 Full-View Aquarium

This tank works amazingly for homes for your fish and plants. It comes with a thermostat that regulates the temperature of the tank, which is perfect for saltwater applications. It does a great job at preventing any leakages from occurring.

This tank comes with a built-in filter so you won’t need to buy that separately. It includes a tank lid, bio-balls, ceramic media, and a few sponge filters. The filter prevents any harmful bacteria from infecting the tank, and it will ultimately give you a much better view of your fish. However, there is no adjustable flow rate.

One thing to note about this tank is that it does not come with a lighting system unlike a lot of other tanks. This is something to keep in mind because you are going to need to buy it separately.


  • Comes with a thermostat which regulates the temperature
  • Comes with a built-in filter
  • Great for many types of applications


  • No lighting system
  • No adjustable flow rate with the filter

PanaView 5-Gallon Fish Tank

This tank is made from impact-resistant plastic that is going to prevent any distortion of the material or any scratches that might occur with other materials. The plastic is made to look crystal-clear (as if it were acrylic!)

One of the most appealing features of this tank is the lighting systems. It comes with seven different LED settings including daylight white, blue, green, amber, aqua, purple, or red. The lighting system is energy-efficient so it prevents against environmental harms. The lighting system is going to make your tank so much more illuminated and alluring than other lighting systems.

Additionally, it comes with a built-in filtration system, so you won’t have to buy it separately. It does an efficient job of cleaning and clearing the water which will ultimately make your fish healthier and more pleasing to look at.

This is my top pick for 5-gallon fish tanks.


  • LED lighting systems come with 7 different color settings
  • Built-in filtration system
  • Made from high-quality plastic


  • The plastic cover isn’t the highest quality
  • Will need to replace the bulbs more frequently than other systems

MarineLand Escape 5 Aquarium Kit

The unique feature of this tank is that it is shaped like a hexagon, so there are multiple different viewing panels. This allows for a much better view of your fish and plants. The LED lights that are included with this tank are energy-efficient and long-lasting, so you won’t need to replace the bulbs as often.

It comes with a built-in filtration system, so you won’t need to buy that separately. It is hidden in the back of the tank so it won’t interrupt the aesthetic look of the tank. The filter has an adjustable flow rate so you can adjust it to tailor to more delicate fish.

The hood of the tank is designed to be easy to remove and very sturdy, unlike other tanks. This allows for easy maintenance including feeding and cleaning.


  • The sturdy hood is very well-designed
  • Built-in filtration system
  • Shaped like a hexagon


  • Possible leakage
  • Some cracks in the top, so you’ll need to be more careful of any critters escaping

Fluval Edge Aquarium

This tank is designed like no others. Because of how it’s attached to the back supporting piece, you can see from all 6 sides of the aquarium. This provides a unique and incredible viewing experience that would look amazing in any room.

Like a lot of the others on this list, this tank also comes with a built-in filtration system. This is going to make for a cleaner and clearer look to the water which will ultimately allow you to see your fish in a better view.

The LED lighting, filtration system, and all other features are hidden away in the back supporting piece so the tank has a more minimalistic and aesthetically pleasing look. It looks very modern and could make for an amazing focal piece in the room. This is also going to allow you to add more plants and/or decorations without it looking cluttered.


  • Unique cube-shaped design
  • Built-in filtration system
  • All features are hidden away so it doesn’t look too cluttered


  • The filter can be noisy
  • The lighting system isn’t as bright as other systems

Features to Consider When Buying a 5 Gallon Fish Tank

If you are currently on the hunt for a 5-gallon tank, there are some things you need to consider first. It is important that you educate yourself on the features that differ tanks from one another. This will help you to set your priorities and choose the perfect tank for you.

Material: Fish tanks are most commonly made of either two types of materials: glass or acrylic. Glass aquariums won’t get discoloration over time and they are less likely to scratch. On the contrary, acrylic aquariums are much lighter in weight, they have better visual clarity, and they are much sturdier.

Shape: A rectangular box-shaped tank is the most common fish tank among buyers. This is due to it being much easier to clean and other products like filters and decorations are tailored to that shape. The rectangular shape is most suited towards beginners. Other shapes of tanks include cubes, cylinders, and hexagons and are most suited towards experienced tank owners.

Filters: Some tanks come with built-in filtration systems and some do not. The benefit of buying a tank that already comes with a filter is that you won’t need to buy one separately. But, the filters that come already installed with the tank are sometimes of lower quality. If one of your top priorities is to have a highly durable filter, it is better to buy a tank without a built-in filter. Buying one separately will allow you to find one that best suits your needs.

How To Maintain Your 5 Gallon Fish Tank

A common misconception among inexperienced fish tank owners is that owning a smaller tank means less maintenance. This is only somewhat true. Yes, there is less surface area to clean. But it is important to know that a smaller tank deserves the same level of care as any other sized tank.

Smaller tanks create bacteria faster than larger ones do. This is due to the fact that the fish have a smaller space to live in, so they tend to contaminate the water more frequently. So, even if it is a smaller space to clean, you will need to clean it more often.

One of the most important factors with maintaining your fish tank is having a filter. The filter’s responsibility is to remove harmful bacteria, excess food, fish waste, and any other bacteria from the tank.

Something else that is crucial in fish tank maintenance is partially changing out the water at least once a week. Some people only change out 10% of the water weekly, while some go up to 40% weekly; it is completely up to you. The important thing is that you are at least changing some fraction of the water every single week. This will ensure proper tank care and a healthy environment for your aquatic life.

Another aspect of maintaining your fish tank is ensuring that the water is at the proper temperature. This can vary depending on if your tank is freshwater or saltwater. You can do this by investing in an aquarium thermometer. An aquarium thermometer will track the temperature of the water and alert you when it is at a dangerous level.

Benefits of Buying A 5 Gallon Fish Tank

There are several different benefits to buying a 5-gallon fish tank.

It is easier to clean: One benefit of buying a 5-gallon fish tank is that it is easier to clean and maintain. This is due to the limited amount of surface area and volume of water that the tank holds.

It looks visually appealing in any room: A 5-gallon fish tank is that it will look great in any sized room. Since 5-gallon tanks are compact and sleek, they will provide an extra level of scenery to the look of your room. The small size will prevent the room from looking too cluttered. Examples of rooms a 5-gallon tank would look great in include living rooms, offices, kitchens, and even children’s bedrooms!

It is lightweight: Since 5-gallon tanks are lightweight, most surfaces will be able to support the weight. This means you won’t need to buy a surface specifically used to hold and support the weight of your tank. You can use whatever surface you already own.

Most of them come in kits: Most 5-gallon fish tanks come in kits. This means that they come with everything that you need to maintain the tank in one package. This is optimal for those who are less knowledgeable about owning a fish tank or fish tank beginners.

FAQ’s for 5 Gallon Fish Tanks

When it comes to buying a 5-gallon fish tank, most buyers have questions before investing in the tank.

What types of fish can be kept in 5-gallon tank?

Examples of fish that 5-gallon tanks are capable of holding include betta fish, dwarf puffers, shrimp, and snails.

How do I set up a 5-gallon fish tank?

5-gallon fish tanks are very easy to install for two reasons. First, they usually come already put together in the box, so all you have to do is take it out. It is that simple. Second, smaller tanks usually come in kits. This means that they come with everything you need to maintain your fish tank already in the package.

Is a filter necessary?

A filter is going to help make your tank as clean as possible. Without a filter, you are going to need to spend much more time and energy on cleaning your tank to maintain a healthy environment.

How many fish will I be able to keep in a 5-gallon tank?

It depends on the type of fish you have. Some fish don’t do well alone and would rather be in groups, while some do better alone. The more fish you have in the tank, the more maintenance you will have to put it into cleaning the tank. This is because the water gets polluted faster when more fish are being kept in the tank.

After reading this compilation of the best 5-gallon fish tanks, hopefully you will be able to find one for yourself that fits all of your needs as an aquatic life owner. And who knows, maybe you even found one that is perfect for you from this list.

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